Ousmane Dembele's Agent Says Player Will Stay at Barca Amid PSG, Neymar Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2019

BILBAO, SPAIN - AUGUST 16: Ousmane Dembele of FC Barcelona looks on during the Liga match between Athletic Club and FC Barcelona at San Mames Stadium on August 16, 2019 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Moussa Sissoko, the agent for Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele, has dismissed speculation suggesting the player will leave the club for Paris Saint-Germain this summer.

According to Le Parisien (h/t B/R Football), PSG would be open to allowing Neymar to join the Blaugrana this summer if they were to receive €100 million (£90 million), Nelson Semedo and Dembele in return.

Despite the reports, Sissoko has said in recent weeks that he doesn't expect the France international to move to Paris. Following fresh speculation regarding Neymar's position, he said again he is sure his client will not be leaving, per TF1 (h/t Get French Football News):

Get French Football News @GFFN

Moussa Sissoko, Ousmane Dembélé’s agent, on the reported reality that Barcelona need to convince his client to move to PSG to unlock the Neymar deal to TF1: “Ousmane stays at Barcelona, 100%. No chance he leaves. He wants to & will succeed at Barcelona.”

The comments come after the latest reports regarding Barcelona completing a deal for Neymar.

On Tuesday, Barcelona sporting director Javier Bordas, chief executive Oscar Grau and technical secretary Eric Abidal travelled to Paris for talks over a possible transfer. Upon returning to Barcelona, Bordas said the transfer was "closer" to being done.

Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague provided the latest on what is proving to be one of the transfer sagas of the summer:

Guillem Balague @GuillemBalague

After PSG rejected other options, the latest from Neymar below. Rakitic as part of the deal, Dembele on loan for a year and €125m to pay now. No deal yet and nobody wants to adventure a possible outcome. "Anything is possible," all parts are saying https://t.co/cULc0MSHJ1

Rafael Hernandez of the Grup14 fan site said he would prefer to see Neymar in Barcelona colours again over Dembele:

Rafael Hernández @RafaelH117

I’d like to see Dembélé shipped off to Paris at this point. One liability with less talent to another liability with more talent. It’s come to this point, hard to not feel disappointed but it is what it is.

Dembele arrived at Barcelona in the summer of 2017 from Borussia Dortmund, with many hoping he would be able to help fill the void left by Neymar's shock departure. At that stage, he had earned a reputation as one of European football's best prospects.

There have been flashes of outrageous talent from the winger in his time in La Liga, though he's lacked consistency in terms of performance and fitness to cement his spot in the side. In the season opener against Athletic Bilbao, he hobbled out of the game with another injury and Barcelona ruled him out for around five weeks.

Although he's still just 22 years old, the constant niggles will be concerning for Barcelona, especially given Dembele relies so much on his searing acceleration to pull away from defenders.

Per Sid Lowe of the Guardian, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has spoken highly of Dembele in the past:

Sid Lowe @sidlowe

Barcelona trying to convince Dembele to leave so that they can bring in Neymar, you read. Would this be the same Dembele the president said was better than Neymar? Hmm.

Sid Lowe @sidlowe

Dembele's agent is saying no way, incidentally. (Take note, your majesty.)

Even if the France starlet stayed at the club and Neymar was to arrive, it's difficult to see how he would find a way into the XI on a regular basis.

After all, Barcelona have already bolstered their attacking options, bringing in Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid. Manager Ernesto Valverde also has the division's top two goalscorers from last season to call upon—Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

It means that Dembele is in a difficult position and the pursuit of Neymar suggests it's unlikely too much faith in him exists at the Camp Nou. While his representative may be convinced the winger is going nowhere, at this point Dembele would perhaps benefit from a fresh start.